Sometimes old and new come crashing together to remind us that there is nothing new under the sun. It’s Tu b’Shvat today, a minor Jewish holiday with big meaning.
Tu b’ what? The name simply means the 15th of Shevat on the Hebrew Calendar, the date chosen by the ancients to calculate the age of trees and for purposes of taxing the past harvests and predicting the next. The 15th just happens to fall on the full moon, a sort of biblical link to current interest in biodynamic farming practice.
In deep winter, but with days already getting longer, Tu b’Shvat offers a pre-dawn glimmer of the growing season to come. The holiday is symbolized by almond trees in bloom, like the ones above at Fat Uncle Farms in Wasco, CA being pollinated to secure the future of the next crop.
Foodwise, the synchronicity is divine. The ingredients used to mark Tu b’Shvat–roots, nuts, grains, legumes, dried fruits, and winter citrus and avocadoes–symbolize the cycle of the seasons: the fruits harvested in the past year hold the seeds of future fruits in the coming year. They also happen to be what we have on hand right about now. It’s time to celebrate as the ancients did, with fabulous winter vegan meals. What, you thought we invented Veganism in the late 20th century?
Here are some delicious ways to mark this intriguing day: